If you have invested a lot of money and time in getting your website and web pages optimised for search engines, you are already on the right track to increasing your business’s online visibility.
But search engine optimization (SEO) is not a ‘once-and-done’ tactic. Think of it as an investment that requires a monthly, quarterly or yearly premium. Only when you regularly pay that premium in the form of time and effort, will you get a glorious result on your SEO investment.
This premium on your SEO strategy is called SEO maintenance.
SEO maintenance is a commitment and a practice, without which your website, which once ranked well on search engine result pages (SERPs), can get lost in the crowd. SEO maintenance is a part of your SEO strategy that is tied to your overall digital marketing strategy.
If you want to keep your website relevant throughout its existence, you need to revisit your SEO tactics and upgrade them to match the latest developments. These developments can be in the form of trending search queries, updates in Google’s algorithm, sprouting of new keywords and much more.
Now marketing procrastinators may skip this article and stick to their traditional belief systems. But if you are someone who aims to ace SEO for their website, follow this checklist till the end to note how you can maintain your SEO for the long term.
Monitor Your SEO Metrics
Keeping a track of your SEO’s key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for constantly making improvements in your SEO strategy. You can install Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster tools for this purpose. If you are unaware of what SEO metrics you should be tracking for your business, ask your digital marketing agency to help you identify them.
KPIs such as average engagement time, bounce rates, conversion goals, and search visibility KPIs such as impressions and clicks through rates will help you accurately in assessing your SEO performance.
Moreover, by regularly benchmarking and analysing these KPIs through timely reports you will be able to detect challenges and reverse negative trends before they impact your website’s performance.
Most of these KPI results will fluctuate depending on external factors such as the relevance of the topic, change in consumer behaviour, new competitors in the market, etc. This is why you need to revisit your SEO strategy and maintain your KPIs to meet the latest industry trends.
Keyword Research & Revisiting Content
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. In fact, without content, your SEO has no foundation.
Curating content starts with researching relevant keywords, writing content on trending topics, and publishing content with the aim to educate, inform and guide customers in their buying journeys.
But both trends and customer behaviours are volatile. They constantly change and what may seem relevant now may be completely irrelevant a few months down the road.
This is why content marketers and SEO specialists need to have a forward and rearwards-looking approach while maintaining content online.
The first thing you need to do while performing maintenance for your content SEO is to keep researching keywords. Keywords include both primary keywords and long-tail keywords that are founded on users’ search intentions.
Let’s take an example to understand this practice better.
Say your SEO agency identified a keyword – “healthy juices” as the primary keyword and “healthy juices for summer” as the long tail keyword.
After a few monthly SEO audits, the SEO team found that there is a new category of healthy juices that have gained lots of search traffic recently. This keyword is a long tail form of the primary keyword – “healthy juices for school-going kids.”
Now, to make your website content relevant so that it can be indexed by Google, you can either choose to revisit your old content and add a section for “school-going kids” in a previously written article or write a completely new article on the newly discovered keyword.
If you never revisit your content you also face the risk of rewriting content on topics that you have covered previously. Without regular keyword research and revisiting existing content, you will never be able to upgrade your content to meet users’ and search engines’ expectations.
Update Website Plug-Ins
If you are using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, you can find abundant information on why you need to regularly update your plugins. You can update your WordPress plugins manually or automatically depending on your requirements. However, it is important that you do this regularly as a part of your SEO maintenance.
Plug-ins play a critical role in maintaining the ranking of your website on SERPs because of their functionalities. If your plug-ins are pending updates, your website visitors may face issues in loading the page, see HTML code errors, and be redirected to unwanted pages and these problems can severely affect your website’s KPIs (mentioned above).
Errors and faults may appear on websites even when they are regularly monitored and without an audit process. Duplicate tags, duplicate content, or even missing on-page elements that may result from a code change, database update, plugin/extension update, or broken links are examples of some common errors.
It’s crucial to undertake a quarterly audit of on-page problems utilising a variety of both free and paid third-party tools. There are programmes that even give notifications and take into account daily operations if something changes, such as the deletion of a meta description. When you are constantly alert about on-page audit issues, you are ahead of the problem and solve it before it can even cause any severe problems to your website.
Find & Fix Index and Crawl Errors
Making ensuring that Google can index your website is one of the fundamentals of SEO. It happens more frequently than you might expect, that a website cannot be indexed by Google.
In fact, you’d be amazed at how frequently developers unintentionally leave no-index tags in place while migrating code from a staging environment to a live one, resulting in a sudden de-indexing of a site.
Spend some time fixing any mistakes you come across and investigating the root of any prohibited URLs. Here, problems like 404 errors and wrongly canonicalized sites may appear, and these kinds of issues can significantly affect the speed of your website.
If you have deployed an SEO strategy to improve your website’s visibility, you will need to incorporate SEO maintenance as a part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Without SEO maintenance, you face the risk of not meeting your long-term digital marketing goals. Moreover, SEO maintenance is a structured approach so make sure you bookmark this article to revisit this checklist for your next SEO audit!
All the best!